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Transfer Spending Falls As Global Economic Crisis Finally Impacts Soccer

A mid-year review of transfers from FIFA today shows that worldwide transfer spending fell by more than one-third in the first six months of the year, as the world’s economic crisis finally impacts soccer.

On a daily basis we are bombarded about the global financial crisis and unmanageable debt loads and the trickle down effect is that most football clubs in the world don’t have the financial resources that they had five years ago.

In the first six months of this year, FIFA reported a fall in total payments between clubs in transfer and loan fees of $294 million (£190 million) to $576 million, a decrease of 34% on the same period last year.

“This could suggest that the effects of the global recession – for instance, distressed corporate sponsors, restrictive bank lending policies and reduced overdraft facilities for clubs – are being felt in the international football transfer market,” the FIFA report says.

“A further factor may be the high concentration of wealth in a relatively small number of associations; any reduction in spending in those few associations could have a disproportionately high impact on aggregate transfer fees worldwide.

“Finally, given the share of the European transfer market, the efforts of those clubs to bring themselves in line with the UEFA Financial Fair Play Regulations before the onset of sanctions for indebted clubs may contribute to a fall-off in transfer compensation rates.”

The data showed that the biggest-spending country in the first six months was Russia, where $64.39 million was spent on transfers. The big spending English clubs bought $55.43 million of players, but sold $58.83 million for a net spend of $3.4 million.

A total of 4,973 transfers were completed during the first six months of the year. There were 708 involving Brazilian clubs  the highest total  with English clubs involved in the second-highest number (326).